Riders for Better Transit statement on CTA 2013 budget and fare hikes

Letters to Editors

From Riders for Better Transit


CHICAGO, IL  – Every year it seems Chicagoland transit riders get less transit service for our money. The CTA today released its proposed 2013 budget, proposing another fare increase for transit riders next year. This closely follows Metra’s proposal to increase fares for 2013.

Service cuts and fare increases have become a regular tradition, making it more difficult and more expensive for people to get around. Demand for transit has been increasing for years, and people want better transit service. Transit in our region needs to stop moving backwards. Riders for Better Transit encourages Chicagoland residents to tell their elected leaders that it’s time to stop the cuts and fare hikes and invest in moving transit forward.

Transit riders can take action by sending letters to elected officials at: www.activetrans.org/bettertransit

“This is a temporary fix and not a long-term solution to CTA’s funding woes. You can’t get rapid transit while spending all your time just trying to resuscitate transit,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, which organizes the Riders for Better Transit campaign. “Chicago should have twice as many transit riders, but we don’t have a system in place to accommodate them, and we never will if elected officials aren’t willing to actually invest in better transit. CTA and Metra aren’t raising fares because it’s what’s best for the future of Chicagoland. They’re doing it because they’ve been given no other choice.”

The CTA next month will cut a number of routes because it was the only way it could afford to add service on overcrowded buses and trains. In 2010, CTA cut bus service 18 percent and train service 9 percent Metra raised fares 25-30 percent this year. CTA train fares have increased 80 percent since 1990. And for too long now our trains and buses have been plagued by slow zones, overcrowding and deteriorating stations. It’s clear that elected leaders have decided transit isn’t a priority.

“If the best Chicagoland can hope for is to maintain the status quo of transit — and we can’t even do that because of regular fare increases, service cuts and crumbling infrastructure — then our region is in serious trouble,” said Burke. “CTA and Metra are barely squeaking by. We can’t keep expecting transit riders to bear more of the burden. The system is broken and only our elected leaders in city hall, Springfield and DC have the power to fix it.”

Riders for Better Transit is a project of Active Transportation Alliance (Active Trans). Active Trans is a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members advocating to improve conditions for biking, walking and transit in the Chicago region.